> Holidays > Shavuot > Recipes

My Favorite Dairy Treats

May 12, 2013 | by Emuna Braverman

It’s a shame Shavuot isn’t a week-long holiday.

Shavuot is always fun for cooks. It’s an exciting opportunity to indulge and make all those rich dairy treats we avoid all year. The only problem is that we really need a week-long holiday in order to try them all. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Plain Cheesecake

The name really doesn’t do it justice. While I like a rich, gooey cheesecake as much as anyone, there is something to be said for the simple vanilla version. The taste is just right!


  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup butter, melted


  • 2 pounds cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs


  • 1-2 cups sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter and press into bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool.

For filling, cream together cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, continually beating. Pour filling into crust. Bake for about 1 hour.

Stir together sour cream and sugar. Spread gently over cheesecake and return to oven for 5 more minutes. Cool. Store in refrigerator. Remove sides of pan before serving.

Coconut Chocolate Cheesecake

These are two of my favorite flavors –and what could be better than having them both in one dessert?


  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup butter, melted


  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks


  • 3 cups shredded coconut
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cream of coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap outside of 9-inch springform pan with heavy-duty foil.

For crust, mix together crumbs, coconut and melted butter. Press into bottom and partially up sides of pan. Bake for 10 minutes; cool.

For filling, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth. Cool.

In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate, corn syrup and vanilla until blended. Add egg and egg yolks. Beat until completely incorporated.

Spoon batter into crusted. Bake until center is set, about 40 minutes. Cool briefly.

For topping, in a large bowl, beat together all topping ingredients. Spoon over batter and spread gently to cover. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

This is another of my favorite food combinations and has the advantage of being no bake!


  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted


  • ¾ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 5 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream, whipped
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3-1/2 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For crust, mix together cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press into bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

For first filling layer, beat together the peanut butter, cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until combined. Fold in 1-1/4 cups whipped cream and spread over crust. Return to refrigerator.

Place semisweet and milk chocolates in a small bowl. Heat sugar and milk until just boiling. Pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature and fold in remaining whipped cream. Spread over peanut butter layer, cover and freeze for at least 2 hours.

For topping, place semisweet chocolate in a small bowl. Heat cream until just boiling and pour over chocolate. Whisk until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Cool to almost room temperature and gently spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate until set. Can be store for a few days in the refrigerator or longer, covered, in the freezer.

Rice Pudding

This isn’t your typical Shavuot dessert but it’s one of my favorites – and while it could be made pareve, it’s so much better when it’s dairy!

  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (you can substitute 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ cup basmati rice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Garnish: cinnamon-sugar and whipped cream

In a medium size heavy pot, combine milk, cinnamon and vanilla. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and allow the mixture to steep for ½ hour. Return to medium heat. Add rice and simmer until soft, about 20 minutes. Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks. Add 1/3 of hot rice mixture and whisk well. Pour into remaining rice mixture, whisking constantly until combined. Allow to thicken (do not boil) and remove from heat.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Before serving, remove cinnamon sticks and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, if desired, and a dollop of whipped cream.

Pomegranate Blue Cheese Salad

Much as I would like it, it can’t be all desserts. Here’s a nice, light dairy salad that suits the day and the temperature.


  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 heads butter lettuce or romaine, torn or chopped
  • 2 cups toasted walnuts
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups pomegranate seeds
  • ¾ to 1 cup blue cheese, crumbled

To prepared dressing, whisk together vinegar, sugar, onion and mustard. Gradually whisk in oil. Stir in salt and pepper. Set aside.

For salad, lettuce, nuts and apples with dressing. Add pomegranate seeds and cheese and mix gently. Serve immediately.

Easy Black Bean Chili

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 poblano chile peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
  • 2/3 cup salsa
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • Sliced avocado or guacamole

In a medium Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, chiles and garlic and sauté until soft. Stir in beans, corn, salsa, cumin and chili powder. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until flavors are blended. Garnish with grated cheese, chopped cilantro and avocado or guacamole, if desired.

Can be served in a taco shell or tortilla for a more filling dish.

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